Sivan Saravanapavan, the new program coordinator of UMD’s Biocomputational Engineering (BCE) program, brings a unique perspective to his new role as once a UMD transfer student himself. With his personal experience transferring from Montgomery College to the University of Maryland College Park, Sivan will be an excellent resource for you as you potentially embark on your new journey in the BCE program.
Continue reading to learn more about Sivan’s background, his motivations for joining the UMD BCE program, and his goals for the program's future.
Introducing Sivan Saravanapavan, the New BCE Program Coordinator
Sivan is a native Marylander, born in Washington, DC and raised in Silver Spring. After graduating from high school, he attended Montgomery College (MC).
He states that, “At the time, I didn’t have a plan, and was a bit wayward in my academia. My criminology professor/mentor suggested I look into MC’s 2+2 pathway with USG. This suggestion changed my life.”
He earned his associate’s degree at MC, and applied for a bachelor’s degree in Criminology and Criminal Justice at UMCP, through the Universities at Shady Grove. He was accepted, and got a job at USG’s Center for Academic Success (CAS), where he fostered his passion to help others succeed in academia. After graduating from college, he worked at USG’s Student Services and helped revamp the student life calendar, oversaw the Student Event Board, and gained invaluable experience working with student clubs. He then went on to work as the program coordinator for Public Health Science at USG.
Sivan recalls, “All of my success and experiences are truly owed to my academic and professional journey at MC and USG. None of this would be possible if I didn’t decide to make something of myself at MC and USG. I’m eternally grateful for the 2+2 pathway and all the great people who helped me along the way.”
Q&A with Sivan Saravanapavan
As a graduate of UMD College Park and a transfer student from Montgomery College yourself, can you share a bit about your experience and how it has shaped your understanding of the challenges and opportunities that potential students may face in the BCE program?
My experience at MC and UMCP gave me a deep understanding of the challenges both traditional and non-traditional students face when going through this process. I learned that in order to network, ask questions, apply for school, scholarships and jobs, students must have sound skills in professional writing and communication. I was able to build this foundation at MC and UMCP.
I scaffolded the foundation with organization, determination, and consistency. This is the recipe I used and will continue to teach our students in their quest to succeed. I believe that it takes a village to truly prepare students for their academic and professional careers.
What attracted you to the UMD BCE program and motivated you to join the team as the program coordinator?
The BCE program is a unique offering that will enable students, faculty, and staff to better our world and improve patient care. I’m not a mathematician or scientist, but I can help find those future superstars who will do amazing things in our program and beyond. This is exactly what BCE means to me — the ability to do amazing things to help others in biotechnology, computer science, AI, and life science. I’m excited to share with students the possibilities this degree can bring.
In what ways do you plan to leverage your own experiences as a transfer student to support and connect with current transfer students in the program?
I plan on being transparent and sharing my blueprint to success with fellow transfer students. I want to guide students through this sometimes arduous process, and give them the confidence in myself and our dynamic and highly responsible faculty and staff. I want transfer students to know they are in excellent hands, and with hard work and dedication, there is no ceiling to their potential.
As the new program coordinator, what are your key goals and priorities for the BCE program?
As the new Program Coordinator, I want the UMD BCE program to flourish in Maryland. I want students as early as elementary school and middle school to know about BCE, the same way they learn about going to medical school or becoming a firefighter. I also want to offer the same support system to transfer students who need help finding their academic pathway.
I would like to implement initiatives that will focus on equitable outreach in mathematics and sciences in lower socioeconomic areas. I would also like to focus on professional development, so students can graduate with the total package, and be career ready immediately after their undergraduate studies.
How do you plan to engage with potential students who are interested in the BCE program?
I believe that it’s imperative to be kind, tactful, and provide outstanding customer service. This enables me to establish a rapport and build trust with students. I want our students to feel comfortable and find solace in knowing that they can focus on their studies, and not have to worry about finding support in administrative or academic situations.
What do you see as the unique strengths and advantages of the UMD BCE program? Why should a prospective student enroll?
I believe this unique program is a game changer. Students now have the opportunity to learn programming, AI, and life science technology all under one roof. Students will prepare themselves for the rigors of academia and professional life, while enjoying an awesome, collaborative environment at USG’s state of the art biomedical building.
Wondering if the BCE program is right for you? Take our quiz to find out what type of science genius you are!